First salmon of 2018 has been caught in Leitrim, confirms Inland Fisheries Ireland


Friday 2nd February 2018: Inland Fisheries Ireland has confirmed that the first spring salmon of 2018 has been caught. The fish was landed on the River Drowes, Co. Leitrim, on Tuesday 30th January by well-known local angler Bill Likely.

The salmon, which weighed 7.5lbs, was a sea-liced fish taken on a Black and Gold Rapala from the Point of the Meadow Pool shortly before 1pm. Water levels on the river were high at the time, as they have been at the fishery for the first month of the season, but have been decreasing in recent days.

Sean Kyne TD, Minister with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, congratulated Mr Likely and said: “To catch the first salmon of the year is an accolade prized among anglers and marks the return of the fishing season every January. Using the event to support a worthy cause such as hospice services puts the iconic salmon at the heart of the angling as well as the broader community.”

“Protecting and sustaining our salmon resource as a vector for development and tourism in peripheral rural areas is among my top priorities,” he added.    

The first fish, as is traditional, will be prepared for a tasting event to benefit local charities and, on this occasion, the North West Hospice, which ‘provides specialist care with compassion for those living with life-limiting illness in our community’, will be the beneficiary of an event being held in the Foxes Lair Bar & Restaurant, Bundoran, Friday, 9th February from 8pm.

Bill Likely with the first salmon catch of 2018 which was from the Drowes Fishery in Leitrim

Photo: Bill Likely with his prized catch, weighing 7.5lbs, at the Drowes Fishery, Co. Leitrim


To mark the catch, Fishery owner Shane Gallagher presented the Drowes Perpetual Cup to a delighted Mr Likely, who works on the fishery and is familiar to local anglers and is well-known for his generosity with advice and local insights.

Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “Official confirmation of the first salmon catch of the year is always a key event. Last year, the first salmon was caught in the Careysville Fishery on the Munster Blackwater in Cork on February 1st, IFI staff have confirmed the appearance of spring salmon on a number of Donegal fisheries over recent days. The Board of IFI is concerned about the declining abundance of salmon and urges all salmon anglers to practice catch and release angling on all open salmon waters even where there is an available quota.”

He continued: “We have a wonderful fisheries resource in this country that doesn’t just benefit anglers but offers rural communities sustainable tourism and job opportunities outside of the traditional tourist seasons. Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to work with these communities to develop our angling infrastructure and improve access, through extensive funding grants and sponsorship, with a view to increasing angling participation and growing local economic growth as a result.”

Anglers looking for fishing information in Ireland in 2018 can visit for the latest news and fishing reports. For those looking to try out fishing for the first time, Inland Fisheries Ireland will run a number of Education and Outreach initiatives throughout the year with all information posted on

Inland Fisheries Ireland is also inviting the public to help protect and conserve the fisheries resource during the year by reporting incidents to its confidential hotline number telephone1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. The phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

#CPRsavesfish: Catch-Photograph-Release.




For media information:

Paul O’Mahony

Communications Manager

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T: 353 (0) 1 8842675

Note to Editors:


About the River Drowes Fishery

The Drowes Fishery is one of Ireland’s premier spring salmon and grilse fisheries. The river is some 5 miles in length, with over 70 named pools, flowing from Lough Melvin at Lareen Bay and entering the sea at Tullaghan, just outside Bundoran. The Drowes has a wide variety of water suitable for all fishing methods, including several miles of good fly water and deeper slower moving pools suitable for spinning and bait fishing.

For information and bookings on the Drowes Fishery & Lough Melvin see Tel: 071 9841055 (8am to 12 noon). Mob: +353 (0) 87 8050806


About Inland Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland is a statutory body operating under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) and was established under the Fisheries Act on 1st July 2010. Its principal function is the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. Inland Fisheries Ireland promotes, supports, facilitates and advises the Minister on the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries, including sea angling. Inland Fisheries Ireland also develops policy and national strategies relating to inland fisheries and sea angling and advises the Minister on same.